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What is complex regional pain syndrome?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Catastrophic Injuries

When our readers think of catastrophic injuries, they probably think of brain or spine injuries. And, of course, those types of injuries can indeed be catastrophic for those who suffer the injuries. But, there are many other types of injuries that can impact a person’s life on such a level that they too might be considered to be catastrophic. One such condition is known as complex regional pain syndrome.

Causes, symptoms and treatment

Complex regional pain syndrome is commonly referred to as CRPS within the medical community. It is a condition that still has many unknowns to it, but it commonly arises as a problem after a person is involved in an accident of some kind, or even after a heart attack or stroke. Most commonly, the syndrome affects a person’s leg or arm and the most common symptom is pain that is far more severe than the original injury would have caused. So, for example, if a person breaks an arm or a leg in a motor vehicle accident, later on CRPS might arise as an issue, causing significant pain in the area of the break.

Beyond the increased level of pain, there may be other symptoms as well, including: increased sensitivity in the area of the injury, specifically to coldness or touch; swelling; changing skin color; stiffness; spasms; and even a decrease in the person’s ability to move the area of the body. The symptoms can be different for any given person.

Treatment for CRPS usually consists of a medication regimen or physical therapy. Pain killers, of course, may be part of the treatment plan, but bone-loss medications and even blood pressure medications could be used as well, among many other medication options. For therapy, the treatment plan might include heat therapy, topical treatments and even acupuncture.

Other types of physical therapy could be options as well. In short, a person who suffers from CRPS may have significant medical hurdles to clear to try to get back to normal after the accident that led to the condition.